Moving into the Allston-Brighton area, New Balance broke ground on Monday on its new world headquarters as officials attributed much of the progress to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino for his dedication and vision in running the city of Boston.
Jim Davis, chairman of New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., said he is proud to make the landing the new welcoming gateway to the city from the west.
“Boston Landing is a unique, one-of-a-kind, mixed-use entity,” he said. “It is comprised of 900,000 square feet of office space, a 175 room hotel serving as hospitality center to both the occupants of the complex and the community in general … up to 65,000 square feet of retail opportunities and a large variety of mixed culinary establishments providing 24-hour service and amenities.”
Davis said the pinnacle of the project is the world-class sports center, one of seven of its kind in the nation. The center will house professional caliber facilities and complimented by fitness and recreation areas, including a 200-meter track that will attract the best athletes in the world to come set records.
Matthew LeBretton, director of public affairs at New Balance, said the project exemplifies the company’s commitment to community and health in Boston.
“This new headquarters will keep us here for decades to come,” he said. “We’re putting in a sports complex, a train station … and it ties into what we’ve done in the city from New Balance Hubway over to BU [Boston University] and our commitment there to getting people out and active and keeping the community moving.”
New Balance gave a naming grant to BU for $3 million to build an athletic field for field hockey on Feb. 14, 2012. The field opened on Aug. 31 with the team’s first game against Ohio University.
Mass. Rep. Kevin Honan said the new facility will bring significant benefits to the surrounding area.
“This is truly a transformative project for our neighborhood,” he said. “It’s going to turn this section into a robust destination site and it’s going to make our neighborhood proud. While [New Balance] sponsors world class athletes, they also provide funds to fight childhood obesity in our city … and turning this into a health and wellness district will help all the children from our local schools.”
Menino also attended the ceremony and said the project will generate more than 3,000 jobs. He thanked Davis for his commitment to Boston and its residents.
“A lot of companies wanted to go up on [Route] 128 and other places, but Jim Davis continued to grow in the city of Boston because he believes in our city and he wants to stay in our city,” he said.
Mass. Rep. Michael Moran said the project will benefit more than just the immediate community, as it will reach far beyond the Allston-Brighton area to stimulate economic growth and development.
“This project is amazing,” he said. “The word ‘transformative’ I don’t think accurately depicts what’s going on here. The headquarters, the hotel, the sports facility and the office space are going to have a ripple effect that will reach far beyond our borders.”
Davis said this project is the result of collaboration of many leaders who share the same vision.
“This is one of the finest examples of cooperation between the public and private sector,” he said. “The common goal for the betterment of the community transcended any personal agenda or interest. The final result is a credit to many, a true example of what can be accomplished with proper leadership and cooperation.”
Officials expect the headquarters to be completed by 2015.